Just how much lower can wind power costs drop?

If you’ve been doing your homework, then by now you should know that wind power in the U.S. is on sale.

Thanks to performance-based tax policy (the bipartisan-supported Production Tax Credit) attracting new investment and driving innovation, wind power’s costs dropped by two-thirds over just six years.

Now you can start studying for your next assignment, with newly published research from one of the country’s top national laboratories, one otherwise known for participating in the Manhattan Project, among other critically important scientific endeavors.

The California-based Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory (LBNL) has just released a new report that anticipates wind power’s costs will drop by 24 to 30 percent by 2030, and 35 to 41 percent by 2050.


LNBL’s research looked at data from a global survey of 163 wind energy experts and published the findings in the journal Nature Energy.

The study’s lead author, Ryan Wiser, had this to say about the report’s findings:

“Wind energy costs have declined dramatically in recent years, leading to substantial growth in deployment. But we wanted to know about the prospects for continued technology advancements and cost reductions…Our ‘expert elicitation’ survey complements other methods for evaluating cost-reduction potential by shedding light on how cost reductions might be realized and by clarifying the important uncertainties in these estimates.”

Because of wind power’s ongoing cost decline, wind energy already supplies over five percent of U.S. electricity today and is on track to become the leading renewable source of electricity relatively soon. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Vision says wind could supply 10 percent of U.S. electricity by 2020, 20 percent by 2030 and 35 percent by 2050.

Read the Washington Post’s Chris Mooney take on the exciting new research here.

Or go on to read the full report here.